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Friday, 4 October 2013

Dark red lipstick

It's not a secret to you, blog. I'm SmTn's emotional affair. Why does it feel like a secret to myself, then? I try to convince myself that he's just a friend, who's sentimental and very open about his feelings and tell myself there's nothing wrong with our conversations... And then SmTn says hey. Well past midnight (his time), after working on something with a friend he wanted to say hey. So we talked a little. Before the conversation was a full fledged conversation it was stunted at the mention of tango because he said he imagined me wearing dark red lipstick. And I didn't know what to say. I'm not sure what I wanted to say, but all I could come up with that wouldn't sound too incriminating was vanity, fashion and old Hollywood divas. The silence was awkward and I think he may have regretted those words. On my part, I was just torn. I may have considered saying one of the following:

 - "Well, now I'm imagining you with dark red lipstick." (try and imagine how it would have gotten there)
 - "How do I look in dark red lipstick?"

A few hours after the conversation was over I went to the bathroom and played around with make-up before I washed my face. I hesitated for a bit, and opted for the dark red lipstick.

Not content with how it looked on me, I reached for the plum eyeshadow pencil, the dark blue eyeshadow and my best eyebrow colour, ultimately recreating a messy (I can't blend very well with dirty fingers, now, can I?) 1920s inspired make-up. Can you picture it? Eyes looking just made up enough to not look like bruises, dark red lipstick, more defined eyebrows and, to finish it off, some more dark red lipstick as a cheek stain (consumption style). When I was done, I felt more comfortable with my appearance. Then it hit me: I looked like a whore.

Now, I have to stop and make an observation: I don't believe in slut-shaming. This is not what this is about.

Belle de Jour said it was all semantics and it didn't matter what you called a prostitute, because it's all the same. I would have agreed with her until I saw myself in the mirror about a half hour ago. When your significant other cheats on you with a woman, you don't find yourself calling her a prostitute, a call girl, a courtesan, an escort or a hooker. You find yourself calling her a whore. Because any of the other names would imply some dignity in the job and "whore" tends to evoke the image of the women who sing "Lovely Ladies" in Les Misérables

On the occasion of Halloween, the significance of costumes is brought up. Children who want to dress as Daphne, or Batman, or a doctor do so because they look up to these figures and like to pretend they can be them. If only for a night. My exercise in make-up proved what I sort of already knew: I may be tempted to play mistress, but it kills me. 

How do I tell SmTn, then, "Darling, you know I have feelings for you and I wish I could answer in any way that showed those feelings but you and I both know you have a girlfriend, who you live with and are in a committed relationship with. And I just can't bring myself to ignore those facts to tell you to dream of me in dark red lipstick. Not even when you steal my words and thoughts. Not even though you hug me with words."?

How do I tell him "I don't want to be your emotional affair. I want to be your friend. Your good friend. Your friend who is special to you and means a lot to you. Your friend who thinks you're special and to whom you mean the world. Your friend who loves you and doesn't know what to say when you put her in a tight spot like that because any word in the wrong direction is adultery."?

Can I ever own the dark red lipstick look? Is it someone I want to be? A smouldering temptress? Today, the answer is "no." Not even for SmTn. Especially not for SmTn because he's the one who loves the way I laugh and knows the way I lean against a wall. Adding the component of sexual attraction and desire there is not wrong on its own, but it's very wrong in the context of a man who lives with his girlfriend and thinks sexy thoughts of the friend he was infatuated at first sight with two years ago.

It's not the first time it happens. If you could, do imagine him standing a few steps away from me, two parallel lines leaving just a little space between us. Saying "You are special to me" is equivalent to tiptoeing on your line. We can both say that and not touch the middle stretch. When he said "I imagine you wearing dark red lipstick" he was crossing his line. Had I crossed mine too, we would have been too close. Meeting in the middle is the kind of closeness that is off limits unless we're both single. And he isn't. Not that it would make a huge difference if he were, not much could happen then, but it wouldn't be wrong to talk about such things. For now, it's all I can do to wish I could talk to him about it.

SmTn... can we talk? About the red lipstick? Look, it's not a bad thing on its own if you imagine me wearing it. I'm flattered and several thoughts cross my mind when you say it, but I can't utter any of them without crossing some kind of line. It's not that there's anything wrong with your feelings or with expressing them. It's not that there's something wrong with what I feel and wanting to tell you all about it, too. It's that the context is all wrong. This shouldn't happen between a practically-married man and her friend seven hours away as fast as the Earth can spin.

Fuck. I go back to look at it and I'm the one who first mentioned the red lipstick. I'm a horrible person!!! No, wait... he mentioned it first. Doesn't change much. I still feel like I should talk to him about it.

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